Apple's memo, posted to an internal blog, warns company employees about getting too cozy with journalists and bloggers.
The leaked memo also stated that leaking "undermines" the people who've worked on the products for months and "can negatively impact sales" since it gives insider information to rival companies. Those 29 people included employees, contractors, and supply chain partners.
There were leaks a year ago that Apple was planning a third color for iPhone X, but the company ended up launching the device in just two (Space Gray and Silver). "While it may seem flattering to be approached, it's important to remember that you're getting played", said Apple.
The memo also points to more examples of how Apple's internal security has caught people who believed they could get away with it - including the person who leaked the link to the gold master of iOS 11, and those who leaked within the supply chain.
It goes on to say that it's not just a employment at Apple that's at risk, and that "the Apple employee who leaks has everything to lose". The company is also working with its suppliers to prevent theft of intellectual property, and to identify individuals who try to access information that they are not entitled to have.
Warren Braunig, a partner at Keker, Van Nest & Peters who specializes in trade secret law, thinks it's unlikely the arrests were related to employees giving information to reporters. In 2017, Apple caught 29 leakers.
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Mark Zuckerberg recently testified before the United States Senate in regards to Facebook's role in the recent privacy scandal, and it appears from recently leaked talking points that he meant to drag Apple through the mud during his defense as well. With the iPhone X not selling as well as expected, analysts say Apple might "counter intuitively" raise the price when it launches the new version of the flagship phone later this year.
With this memo, Apple has made it clear that they have zero tolerance for leaks of confidential information.
Apple didn't specify who was arrested or what they were charged with. Last year, another employee was sacked for leaking details about the iPhone X, iPad Pro, and AirPods to 9to5Mac.
Contractors are required to undergo training as with other Apple staff before handling customers' iPhones.
If the leaks don't stop, Apple warned potential legal action and criminal charges.
While they carry serious consequences, leaks are completely avoidable. "Everyone comes to Apple to do the best work of their lives - work that matters and contributes to what all 135,000 people in this company are doing together", says Joswiak.